The Best 15 Laptops Under $500: Review

Lots of laptops cost less than $500, but it’s hard to find a cheap and reliable one that doesn’t totally suck. We’ve researched hundreds of affordable Windows laptops and Chromebooks over the years to find decent models, and we also have advice to help you shop smart when prices change and our picks go out of stock.

Chromebooks or Windows

Our picks are for anyone who doesn’t want to or can’t spend more than $500 on a laptop. These models are good for anyone who just wants to browse the web, students who don’t need special software, and people who work at home only occasionally.

If you have to choose between Chromebooks or Windows then at this price, Chromebooks are better than Windows laptops because they’re faster, smarter and better at the things most people use a laptop for. they also tend to have better build quality, longer battery life, and superior screens, keyboards, and trackpads. Chromebooks don’t need antivirus software and don’t come with bloatware (unnecessary, manufacturer-loaded software that clutters the computer and slows it down). If you spend computing time in a browser – checking email, using Google Docs, watching Netflix, or making Zoom calls-Chrome OS is all you need.

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But if you need specialized software for work or school, if you want to play Windows-specific games, or if you need to able to work offline, you’re better off with Windows. A great Windows laptop under $500 can handle web browsing, video calls, and media consumption, but they’re rare-many cheap Windows laptops buckle under the load of running more than a couple apps a time. Windows laptops can be reliable but not for longer period of time.

The Best 15 Laptops Under $500

Unlike most cheap Windows laptops, the Aspire 3 Spin 14 is fast, compact, and light, and it has a decent 1080p touchscreen and good battery life.

Why we like this one: If you need to run Windows apps or games, or if you prefer to work offline, we recommend the Acer Aspire 3 Spin 14 (A3SP14-31PT) in any of the following configurations: 37NV, 38YA, or 32M6. The Aspire 3 Spin 14 is fast enough to meet people’s computing needs for years to come.

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Where it falls short: The Aspire 3 Spin 14 ships with Windows 11 S mode, which only allows apps from the Microsoft Store and limits you to Microsoft Edge for web browsing. But you can switch it to Windows 11 Home for free to install any program you need. It also lacks a fingerprint reader, has a mediocre webcam, and it can’t be opened with a single hand.

It is fast, compact, and light with the AMD Ryzen 55625U processor, 8GB memory, and 512GB storage. It comes with Windows 11 Home and has a 1080p screen.

Why we like this on: The IdeaPad 3 laptop delivers speed, endurance, and crystal clear camera clarity which gives you incredible video call, online class, and video conferencing quality, while smart noise cancellation provides a more natural sound experience with less background noise.

Where it falls short: The IdeaPad 3 screen is less brighter as well as the fonts on the screen are small in size and their is no possible way to increase the fonts size. The battery life of this laptop is average and has low-powered components.

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